Saturday, March 10, 2007

When Winning Is Losing

I'm standing in the checkout line at the local grocery store. The clerk and the young guy behind me are talking about the truck driver from somewhere down south who recently won $160 million in the lottery. Both agreed they are envious beyond belief. Not me, I said. Winning $160 million is a surefire way to ruin one's life!

The young guy was thrown completely off guard. He tried to chuckle, but I don't think he knew quite how to react to such a statement. "Why wouldn't you want to be rich, man?" he queried. "Think of all the good you do for your family and others with that kind of dough."

I shook my head. Becoming an instant multi-millionaire would change a person and, I'm afraid, not for the better.

For one thing, I don't think you'd ever be able to trust anyone again. Are people being nice to you because of YOU or are they being nice because you're rich? Are they agreeable to your ideas because they're good ideas or because they hope you'll spread a little green in their direction?

You'd never really know. Sure, you would try to convince yourself your vast bankroll had nothing to do with the equation, but, in the back of your mind, you'd always wonder and rightfully so.

Another serious issue you'd have to contend with is yourself. People like to think that wealth won't change them, but that's poppycock! If any of us no longer had to worry about how to pay for the rent/mortgage or doctor bills or utilities or food, it's going to change the way you view life.

If any of us basically could buy anything we wanted -- anytime we wanted -- then things start to lose value for us and it's only natural to lose our ability to empathize with others who don't have this freedom. We would each lose the ability to understand what it was like to live a life on the edge, the kind of life most people in the world live everyday.

I'm not arguing here that each of us should do our damnedest to insure we live a life that is beset with poverty and want -- we should each strive to meet our basic needs and provide security for our family. But what does one gain by being so wealthy that we lose our ability to understand and break bread with each other?

Not much, in my book.

1 comment:

  1. A friend of mine lost his wealth a while back. He's told me that, after a period of adjustment, he's happier now than before because he feels freer now.

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